Mullen, who champions academic excellence and is also known for his philanthropic efforts, will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
“Dan is a committed member of the Ursinus family, and I look forward to welcoming him back to campus for commencement,” Ursinus College President Brock Blomberg says. “He has demonstrated, though extraordinary leadership ability, that it is incumbent upon all students to not only excel in the classroom, but to become productive members of society and ambassadors to the community. He is a mentor who strives to help students reach their fullest potential.”
As head football coach at Mississippi State University, Mullen produced a school-record 31 student-athletes on the 2016 Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll. MSU football recently marked its all-time high NCAA graduation success rate, while the team’s NCAA academic progress rate was 12 points better than the national average and in the top tier of the SEC.
On the field, Mullen has led the Bulldogs to a 61-42 record over eight seasons, with seven consecutive bowl appearances. Following the 2014 season, in which MSU was ranked the No. 1 team in the country for five weeks, Mullen received the Maxwell Football Club’s National Coach of the Year award and the Associated Press SEC Coach of the Year award.
Away from football, the coach’s Mullen 36 Family Foundation — named for the jersey No. 36 he wore as an Ursinus student-athlete — seeks to “give children around the state of Mississippi opportunities to succeed” by donating money to 36 children’s charities around the state. Last April, he raised money for the foundation by finishing the Boston Marathon.
At Ursinus, Mullen lettered for two years playing tight end, and was a first-team All-Centennial Conference selection his senior year. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science. He went on to Wagner College, where he coached wide receivers, connected with current Ursinus football coach Pete Gallagher (who was a graduate assistant at Wagner), and earned a master’s degree in education in 1996.